Tuesday, January 8, 2013
There are certain phrases that just don’t translate from Italian into English.
The other day, Sophie and I were at the Farmer’s market in Testaccio. After I had finished choosing vegetables and fruit for the week, the woman who was waiting on me took me aside, and whispered “Do you want to buy my eggs.” After I hesitated a bit, (only because I wasn’t sure I had understood her correctly) she added “They come from my own chickens, and I’ve only fed them on grain and corn." And finally: “Sono da bere.”
I gave her a resounding yes, and as she was carefully wrapping up the feather-bedecked eggs, Sophie finally turned to me, as if I was insane, and asked “Are you really going to drink them?” Because ‘sono da bere’ means that the eggs are so fresh that they are drinkable.
In the States no egg vendor in her right mind would try to sell you an egg by suggesting you drink it raw. First of all there’s the whole salmonella thing that people in the States are wary of. Plus, who drinks eggs?
Well, I do.
You know where this is going......
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to only drink on the weekends. (At least for January) Another is to try to use up everything I have in my cupboards without shopping for anything new. Last Friday the two resolutions came together very nicely. Even though I’m out of gin, vodka and Campari, I decided to deal with those three and half bottles of Pisco.
Good thing I also had a half dozen 'drinkable' eggs.
Pisco, in case you don’t know it, is a distillate made from grapes that originated in Peru or Chile (big debate about that which I’m not touching here). My bottles all come from Chile, since Domenico is working on several projects there. Although I play around with Pisco a lot (here and here), the classic use is in a Pisco Sour.
Once you have the Pisco, it couldn’t be easier to make. Pisco, limes, sugar syrup and (importantly) an egg white. Just the right combo of sweet and sour, with the egg to make it creamy and frothy. A few dashes of bitters at the end add an aromatic edge.
If you’ve been paying attention up till now, you’re probably asking yourself “Hey, what did she end up doing with those perfect egg yolks from those drinkable eggs?” Homemade mayo, my dear. My second favorite way to ‘drink’ my incredibly fresh and precious farm raised eggs.
2 oz pisco
1 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz sugar syrup
1 egg white
3-4 dashes of bitters
Pour pisco, lime juice, egg white and sugar syrup into a shaker. Close top well and give it a few shakes. Open the cap on the shaker to let the built up air escape. Do this a few times, so that you build up a real head of foam, letting the gases escape. I find that if I don’t do this, the top sometimes pops off on its own.
At this point, add a handful of ice, close, and give it a few good hard shakes to chill it well.
Strain into glass, and top with a few dashes of bitters. If you want to make it pretty, take a toothpick and swirl the floating bitters around.